It’s the Little Things

February 23, 2013 | Sarah Van de Berg

Our Jersey steer, Max, is a picky eater. Unlike most bovine, which will eat anything you hand them, Max really only eats his hay and steer chow (breakfast cereal for cattle). Keepers Kent and Jill and I have been working extra hard since last summer to sneak extra pieces of training foods into his giant mouth, just to get him to try something new.

For training reasons, it’s a good idea for Max to learn to eat foods that are more portable than an armload of hay. We’ve been the most successful thus far with dried fruits, but only if Max is in the mood. Usually, Max takes a tiny nibble of the new treat and turns his nose up at it, if he tries it at all. The rest of the farmyard animals (pigs and Ducky, included!) are happy to much down a “cookie” that’s specially made for farm animals, while Max fires them back out of his mouth covered in steer spit without even tasting them.

Until recently, anyway. Here’s a short, shaky cell phone video of Max FINALLY trying (and liking) a farmyard cookie…or three.

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Please don’t feed the animals anything! Even if it seems harmless, like loose hay off the ground or grass or leaves, could potentially make them very ill. Leave feeding the animals to us keepers, it’s the one part of our job that doesn’t involve cleaning poop!

If you want to see what our animals eat up close, become a Museum of Life and Science member and sign up for a Bears Up Close or a Behind the Scenes Tour, they’re wicked awesome!

 

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